I GO BY ARI

Gutted

February 11, 2014

Marshy trout scales

slough off onto our fingers

as our knives run

like sailboats through the skin.

Two days old, our fish decay,

fetal in our palms, 

bellies agape and spilling 

amber threads in swirls 

across November-drenched pavement.

Your nose crinkles beneath 

your wide doe eyes

while you say,

“You get points for this.” 

Points for holding back vomit 

and digging blood from my fingernails

and gliding a knife through tender vitals.

Points for pulling a hook out of an upper lip as soft 

as a child’s cheek.

But nothing for the day we sat 

in clouds of yellow leaves that fell and died 

atop your car, drenched in rain.
The day you tried to tell me I was good enough,
admitting that I wasn’t really good enough for you. 

Nothing for that time
when you drove away for good, 

when I watched you, standing broken from the curb.

No reward for cracking myself open except your cool, brown eyes 

and the way you said you knew me 

when you didn’t, 

when you left
too soon to know a thing. 

A few days old, this “us” decayed, 

fetal in my palms, 

left me wounded and agape
atop November-drenched pavement.

This is a poem I wrote over a year ago, revised and played with.

I HAVE DONE A TERRIBLE THING
Gutted
Sunday Thoughts: Criticism